Sunday, November 27, 2022

Peace on Earth

Usually, I avoid the news except for the headlines, but recently, I did a couple of deep dives into news stories that left me distraught. I felt sadness, anger, hopelessness, and guilt. Too many emotions to handle at once.

I was at a talk once where the speaker explained this reaction. He said that we have only evolved to the point of getting our news at the speed of a runner from village to village - meaning our brains have only evolved to handle bad news in small bits every few days at most. So now, with thousands of places to get information 24 hours a day, our poor brains don't know what to do. Especially mine.

After a few days of reeling from the tragedies around the world, I woke up with this song in my head. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." It was a song from my youth that I hadn't thought about in years. The message was clear. I couldn't fix the world, but I could do small things to make the day better for someone else. Maybe a small act of kindness would be enough to be a turning point for them. And that could cause a chain reaction that could have far-flung effects. That calmed my worried mind.

So let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Let There Be Peace on Earth
by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be

With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.

With ev'ry step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me

Thursday, November 24, 2022


Early anniversary flowers

Holiday excitement is in the air as we prepare to join Ward's family to celebrate this day of thanks. The smell of sausage is wafting by as Theo browns it for the sauerkraut dish he is making. I have 10 lbs of mashed potatoes heating in the crock pot, and Wally just cut up the brownies he made last night. Ward made a fruit salad and is adding the last bit of fresh fruit to it. The kitchen has been bustling over the last 24 hours, but it has been gratifying for me to watch the dance that has been going on. There seems to be a perfect coordination between staying out of each other's way and offering to help. It makes me happy to see my family working together this way, and for that, I am very thankful. 

Wally and Ward are putting extra chairs in the car, so I'd better go help get everything else ready.

However you choose to spend your day, whether it be spending it with family, taking a nap, or reflecting on all who have left us, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

This and That

The first bloom ever on this Christmas cactus!

Winter weather has arrived with cold rain followed by freezing temperatures and wind. I am definitely a fair-weather outdoor person, so the cold weather has kept me indoors for the most part. However, earlier in the week, we did have an outdoor outing of sorts. We stopped at the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Shine in Emmitsburg, MD, on the way back from a funeral.

Statue of Elizabeth Seton at Shrine

Among other things, Elizabeth Seton established the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph and a school for girls in the early 1800s. She was made a saint in 1975 and was the first native-born American to receive Roman Catholic sainthood. We only visited the outside grounds but found them peaceful even though I was cold. Maybe we'll visit in the spring and include the indoor parts of the shrine. I am not Catholic, but I appreciate the history of the site.

Last weekend, we had another outing to a concert in Virginia. Along with the Fairfax Band, four broadway performers sang various songs. Boy, you could tell those women were stage performers because they could really belt out a tune. While the show was enjoyable, the best part was hooking up with a childhood friend of Ward's who played in the band. By serendipity, we sat in the same row as his family and had a nice visit. 

Back at home, we were a little late, but we pulled everything left in the garden this week. I've spent the last couple of days processing the produce with most of it going into the freezer. More to go, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Today, the four of us are going to have a Thanksgiving dinner. Theo got a turkey from work and wants to try a new way of cooking it. On Thanksgiving Day, we will go to my niece's house to spend it with Ward's family.

The first of four boxes of harvest. Three down and one more to go.

Otherwise, I've started to work on some Christmas projects and spent more time than I should with a cat on my lap. :)

Until next time...

Monday, November 7, 2022

One Trick Pony

Recently, I feel my posts are like a one-trick pony, meaning I only have one thing I post about - hikes. Well, this pony hasn't learned any new tricks, so here is another post about a hike. :)

Wally arranged for us to meet him last weekend for a hike he had scoped out for us to take together near where he lived. This was another let's-enjoy-the-outdoors-while-the-temps-are-good outing. Below are some highlights.

The name Soldiers Delight was supposedly named by soldiers from Virginia who camped in the area in the late 1600s. The site is very rocky, so I'm not sure what would have been so delightful about it.

The area is also called the Serpentine Barrens because of the serpentine rocks, which produce soil unsuitable for growing many plants and trees. The ones that can grow there are unique to the area, and it has been made into a Natural Environment Area.

Chromium was discovered here in 1827 and was mined until 1850. At one point, these mines produced almost all of the chromium in the world. There are still remnants of them scattered about the area.

Much of the trail was lined with a mass of tangled greenbrier. Luckily most of it had been cut away from the actual path.

Blackjack oak sprung up here and there among the greenbrier.

After our hike and visiting the nature center, we tried a new place for lunch. Then we parted ways. Wally went home to work, and we made our way home with a stop at Aldis. 

It was an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Cameras and a Hike

Most of the leaves were down in the woods, where we took our hike.

I had Wednesday off, so after some chores around the house, Ward and I decided we needed to get out and enjoy the unusually warm November weather we were having. So we set off to find the other end of a trail we had been on a few months ago. 

The trail ended at a rec center, so we went there looking for the trailhead. As it turns out, the rec center was an early voting location and was quite busy. In fact, the parking lot was almost full. Signs were everywhere, with tables of literature and people trying to help you decide whom you should be voting for. When we drove up, we also noticed a TV camera and thought the local news was probably doing a human interest story about early voting. On our way into the rec center, where we hoped we could find out more about the trail, another person was set up with a camera. She asked us if we'd like to answer some questions about early voting and the issues that were important to us. I asked who she was with, and she named something that I didn't quite get, except it had Washington in the title. (BTW, our local news channels come from Washington, DC.) I said maybe on the way out.

All of the election frenzies were starting to get to me, so we went out another door, and lo and behold, there was another person with a camera. However, she wasn't so general with her questions because all she said was, "Do you want to save democracy?" Well, that told us that this was not a neutral newsgroup but a group with an agenda. Whether or not I agreed with their agenda, I was irate with the way they were trying to manipulate the situation while trying to appear neutral. 

We got out of the fray and into the fields looking for the trailhead. While we were looking around, it was good to see that parts of Theo's butterfly garden he built there as part of his Eagle Scout project, were still thriving. 

Anyway, we ended up getting in the car and driving to another spot where we found what we were looking for. We had a lovely hike while crunching dried leaves and taking in that wonderful smell of fall. It was a nice change from the chaos we had seen earlier, and we were able to connect to the other part of the trail that we had been on earlier. Mission accomplished.

Until next time...

(And speaking of the elections, if half of what the candidates are saying about each other is true, there's no one fit to be in office.)